On May 12, Professor Zev Handel addressed hundreds of particle accelerator physicists who were attending IPAC, the International Particle Accelerator Conference. The conference is the premier event in the field of particle accelerators, attracting over 1,500 scientists, engineers, and students from accelerator laboratories and universities around the world. The 2016 conference was held in Busan, South Korea.
What was an expert in East Asian linguistics and writing systems doing at a conference for particle physicists? Prof. Handel was invited to deliver the "entertainment" talk, which by tradition introduces a feature of the culture of the host country. In a 40-minute address titled "Learn to Read Korean: An Introduction to Hangul 한글", Prof. Handel gave a brief overview of the history of writing on the Korean peninsula and explained the underlying principles of the Korean alphabet, invented by King Sejong of the Joseon Dynasty in 1443. The presentation concluded with a basic lesson in how to read the Korean alphabet. The full video of the presentation, and a link to the slideshow and a written version of the talk, are available here on the conference's website.